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CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




THE 
WORDSWORTH COLLECTION 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES: 



EDWIN WAUGH. 



AUTHOR OF "SKETCHES OF LANCASHIRE LIFE AND LOCALITIES'" "COME WHOAM TO Till 
CHILDER AN' ME,'' ETC., ETC. 




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A. IRELAND & CO., 22, MARKET STREET, MANCHESTEE 

AND ALL BOOKSELLERS AND NEWS VENDORS. 



1860. 



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OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



From Silverdale to Kent sand side, 

Whose soil is sown with cockle shells ; 
From Cartmel eke, and Connyside, 

With fellows fierce from Furness fells. 

Lancashire Ballad of Flodden Field. 

Morecambe Bay, or, the great crooked bay, which divides the districts 
of Furness and Cartmel from the rest of Lancashire, and which receives 
the waters of the Wyre, the Lune, the Keer, the Winster, the Kent, the 
Leven, and other rivers of less note, is a grand object, lying among scenes 
of singular interest and beauty. Its picturesquely-irregular shores are 
full of varied charms— soft secluded vales, and green nooks of nestling— old 
towns and villages, rich parks, and wildwoods sloping to the water— which 
are all the more charming that they cling like a garland about this play- 
ground of the capricious sea, with the outlines of the mountains crowding 
round in the rearward, tier over tier, in stormy majesty. Within the fine 
sweep of scenery overlooking this bay, there is many a venerable home 
of ancient religion, many a towered steep and storied glen, that wakes the 
memories of a thousand years gone by. Morecambe is, also, the outfall of 
Windermere and Coniston waters, and is the most impressive gateway to the 
Lake Country. From its shores at Ulverstone, the river Leven will lead the 
traveller by windings full of changeful beauty, nine miles, to that pleasant 
resting-place called "Newby Bridge," at the foot of Windermere. Cartmel 
and Furness have been comparatively unknown, on account of difficulty 
of access in days gone by ; but now that the line from Lancaster to Ulver- 
stone skirts these sequestered regions, their attractions cannot fail to arrest 
the attention of all lovers of the picturesque in nature. In addition to 



4 OVEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

its natural beauty, Furness is indeed "a land whose stones are iron, and 
out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass;" but the wild fells and green 
valleys of Cartmel know little of the bustling world, save what belongs to 
their purely agricultural and pastoral character ; and the primitive race of 
mountain folk dwelling therein clings to the manners, language, and tradi- 
tions of its "fore-elders" with an affection little disturbed by communion 
with the great changes of modern life. To the scholar and student of man- 
ners, to the lover of nature, and the man of science, these secluded hills 
and glens teem with rich and rare interest. 

Before the railway was made, the old way of crossing the sands from 
Lancaster to Ulverstone must have been very striking, both from the 
character of the scenery around and a sense of danger, which cannot 
but have given something of the piquancy of adventure to the journey. 
The channels are constantly shifting, particularly after heavy rains, when 
they are perilously uncertain. For many centuries past, two guides have con- 
ducted travellers over them. Their duty is to observe the changes, and find 
fordable points. In all seasons and states of the weather this was their 
duty, and in times of storm and fog it must have been fraught with danger. 
These guides were anciently appointed by the Prior of Cartmel, and received 
synodal and Peter-pence for their maintenance. They are now paid from the 
revenues of the duchy. The office of guide has been so long held by a 
family of the name of Carter, that the country people have given that 
name to the office itself. A gentleman, crossing from Lancaster, once 




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"OVER sands." 

asked the guide if "Carters" were never lost on the sands. "I never 
knew any lost," said the guide; "there's one or two drowned now and 
then, but they're generally found somewhere i'th bed when th' tide goes 
out." A certain ancient mariner, called Nuttall, who lives at Grange, on 
the Cartmel shore, told me that "people who get their living by 'following 
the sands,' hardly ever die in their beds. They end their days on the sands- 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



and even their horses and carts are generally lost there. I have helped," said 
he, "to pull horses and coaches, ay, and, guides too, out of the sands. The 
channel," he continued, "is seldom two days together in one place. You 
may make a chart one day, and, before the ink is dry, it will have shifted." 
I found, indeed, by inquiry, that those who have travelled the sands 
longest, are always most afraid of them ; and that these silent currents, which 
shimmer so beautifully in the sunshine, have been "the ribs of death" to 
thousands. The old " Over Sands" route began at Hest Bank, a cliff on the 
shore, about three miles from Lancaster. The coach, and whatever travellers 
might be going, used to meet the guide on the banks of the river Keer, 
which runs over the sands, about three miles from Hest Bank. Here the 
guide carefully tried the bed of the stream before travellers were allowed to 
cross, — for what was fordable yesterday to-day might be a quicksand. The 
safe tracks are indicated by branches of furze, called "brogs," stuck in the 
sand. The old word " brog," means a broken branch ; and it is very likely 
that the word " brob," applied by the people of Furness and Cartmel to these 
furze branches, is merely a corruption of the former word. On reaching 
Kent's Bank, the coach went about three miles through the villages on 
the Cartmel shore, and then forward across the Leven estuary, to 
Ulverstone town. These sands, though not one third the distance of the 
sands between Lancaster and Kent's Bank, are considered much more 
dangerous. Probably the difference may arise from the greater number 
of persons crossing from Cartmel to Ulverstone. In every village, and 
in almost every house I entered, upon the shores of this bay, I met 
with tales of danger and disaster which have occurred upon these sands ; 
and, even now, there is a kind of daily excitement there, arising from the 
dangerous possibilities of travelling over them. Such was the old " Over 
Sands" route from Lancaster. In Mrs. Hemans' letters, she thus alludes to 
the journey: — " I must not omit to tell you that Mr. Wordsworth not only 
admired our exploit in crossing the Ulverstone sands as a deed of ' derring 
do,' but as a decided proof of taste. The lake scenery, he says, is never 
seen to such advantage as after the passage of what he calls its majestic 
barrier." 

This impressive scene may now be traversed by all who prefer speed 
and ease to danger and delay, free from the uncertainties of the old 
route. Along the picturesque northern shores of this "majestic barrier," 
the new line of railway from Lancaster to Ulverstone winds by Silverdale, 
with the grand features of land and sea full in sight ; and the traveller lake- 
wards may, at comparatively little cost of time and money, look upon a 
scene so strikingly different to what he will find in the country he is going 
to, that the variety itself cannot but add to the interest of his journey. The 
length of the line from Carnforth, six miles beyond Lancaster, to Ulver- 
stone is about twenty miles, and, though it passes through one or two 



6 0VEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

rural villages which hide the sea for a few minutes, two-thirds of its length" 
commands a continually changing view of Morecambe Bay. It often runs 
over large tracts of the sands, where the waves sometimes come lashing 
the firm embankment, like ocean skirmishers sent out from the main body 
to remonstrate with this bold invader of their old domain. On the land- 
ward side, every mile brings a new picture ; the land is full of changeful 
picturesqueness of indentation, and the shelving shores of light-hued lime- 
stone rock, which we pass now and then, are rich in exquisite variety of 
form and colour. The woods are peculiarly beautiful to look upon, their 
lighter shades of green being charmingly relieved by numbers of the 
dark historic yew tree, full of brave remembrances of England and its 
forest life in the olden time. Here, where the rugged selvedge of our moun- 
tain district softens into slopes of fertile beauty by the fitful sea, — and 
where the mountain streams, at last, wind silently homewards over the 
sands, we flit by many a sylvan nook, and many a country nest, 
where we should be glad to linger ; — and by the outlet of many a little 
paradisal glen, nestling in the verdant creases of Cartmel's fells, which, 
once seen, will nevermore be willingly forgotten, but remain a bower of 
beautiful remembrance, where the mind may find a resting-place even in the 
city's busy throng. 

Early in the month of May I found myself, one fine evening, walking 
about the platform of Carnforth Station, waiting for the train to Ulverstone. 
It was that delightful time of day when the birds were beginning to get 
stiller, and might be heard more distinctly than before, singing their little 
nestward solos with drowsy delight, here and there among the trees. The 
train started, and for the first time I was rolling towards Ulverstone, by way 
of the Cartmel shore. We were soon over the little river Keer, which, having 
left the hills, comes gliding through a green plain on the right, and then on 
across the Lancaster sands, where its shifty channel has been the death-bed 
of many a gallant man. Now we came to Silverdale Station, where brown- 
faced, stalwart men were unloading timber, or lounging about the whole- 
some looking, work-a-day village. In a few minutes we are off again. 
G-ardens, and comfortable stone-built farm-houses, and little orchards all 
white with apple-blossom are flitting past, and the ragged summits of 
Cartmel Fells draw nearer to the eye. 

Just before reaching the temporary station at Arnside we catch a glimpse 
of Arnside Tower, a massive old peel, on an eminence at the head of a 
solitary vale to seaward. In the northward distance there is a fine view of 
the Cumberland hills at this point. Delightful Arnside ! If any man loves 
the beautiful in nature — if he be a geologist, or a botanist, or an invalid in 
search of peaceful restoration — let him wander about Arnside, and pleasant 
Silverdale — which is close by. Shortly after this evening ride I returned for 
a ramble about Arnside, one sunny day, in company with Mr. W. Salmon, 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 7 

president of the Horticultural Society of Ulverstone, and Mr. Bolton, of 
Swartmoor, a notable geologist, and a personal "friend and fellow-labourer" 
of Professor Sedgwick. The day was so fine, and the scene so beautiful, that 
we were as blithe as three lads going a-nutling to the woods on a holiday 
morning in summer time. The old station-master at Arnside knew the names 
of the hills around, and every remarkable point of the glorious landscape. 
We chatted with him a few minutes, watching the beautiful effect of a 
cloud-shadow gliding over the grand limestone crags of "Whitbarrow" in 
the sunlight ; and, after begging a few matches, we lit our cigars, and 
took up a shady lane towards the picturesque hill called "Arnside Knot." 
Having wound up this pleasant lane, between tall bushy hedgerows, about 
half a mile, we met the gamekeeper, who gave us directions for the ascent 
of the "Knot," warning us carefully against the use of fire, by which 
considerable damage had been done in the woods above. Skirting the 
eastern slope of the hill, a good road brought us into the vale at the head of 
which "Arnside Tower," a massive old quadrangular building, of limestone, 
stands, a lonesome, gloomy-looking ruin. It is finely situated on an isthmus 
which connects the two peninsulas of Arnside and Silverdale. Seaward, it 
commands a view of Warton Sands, and looks right over the bay, out to 
Peel Castle, off the far western point of Low Furness. Eastward, it overlooks 
the lone green vale of Arnside, with its little tarn shining in the hollow, and 
beyond there is a view of Farleton Knot, and of the sands formed by the 
river Kier. The walls of this ancient border stronghold are of great thick- 
ness, and the small rude windows, doorways, shot-holes, and quaint fireplaces 
are still visible. There are no evidences of any other ancient outbuildings or 
defences connected with it, and, probably, as Dr. Whittaker says, " It has 
been merely a place of temporary retreat, in case of sudden alarm from the 
north, for the neighbouring inhabitants." With the exception of an old 
farmhouse, a little below the tower, there is no other building in all the vale 
of Arnside. The old name of the township was " Earnseat," from the "earn," 
for which it was a favourite retreat in ancient times. The district, especially 
about the "Knot," is famous for rare ferns, and the northern shore of that 
rocky height is a favourite wandering ground of the geologist. Leaving 
the road on the slope of "Arnside Knot," we walked through the old farm- 
yard below, and thence up to the tower. Within, all was ruined, and wild, 
and roofless, but we found the ancient winding limestone staircase sufficiently 
good for us to get to the top without difficulty. Here we sat down on the 
broad, grass-grown, ruined wall, to look about us. In spite of the beauty of 
the woods on "Arnside Knot," the greenness of the vale, and the fine views 
east and west, there was a touch of desolation in the scene, to which the 
mouldering tower we sat upon contributed a solemn share. In the east a 
train, laden with Furness ore, darted by the end of the vale, and broke the 
dreamy stillness with remembrances of the active world. It passed, and all 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



was still again, except where a number of swallows skimmed the air 
in graceful flights between our ruined resting-place and the ground. I 
chanced to fling s )me shreds of paper from the tower, which, as they were 
borne away in quivering gyrations by the wind, were instantly pursued by 
the birds, and rarely reached the ground before they were caught by one or 
other of these dainty ariels, and carried off to nooks in the eaves of the old 
farmhouse below. One of my friends said it reminded him of the pursuit of 
knowledge under difficulties, and was another evidence of the growing taste 
for reading in these times. Another suggested that perhaps these Arnside 
swallows might inherit the souls of departed politicians, and were anxious to 
know something of the political movements of the day; and, pointing to a 
bird which dropped the shred he had caught in his bill, he said that one 
evidently didn't agree with the leading article, and therefore declined to take 
the paper in any further. Another thought they might have heard of the 
dispute about the duty, or might be in some way interested in the con- 
sumption of the article. But rumblings of distant thunder warned us that 
we had far to go, so we came down the stairs of the ruined tower, and 
began the ascent of "Arnside Knot." A good footpath leads aslant the hill, 
through groves of larch, spruce, and fir, whose different hues of green look 
very beautiful in the sunshine. About half way we left the footpath, and 
struck up the shingly hill-side to save time. The slope was steeper 
than an ordinary roof, and the shingles gave way at every step; but 
we toiled up, often using our hands, till we reached a green spot at the 
edge of the wood upon the summit. Here, among gorse bushes and tufts of 
ling, we found it very pleasant to rest. The view was fine from this point. 
At the foot of the hill lay the lone vale of Arnside, with its hoary tower 
standing solitarily at the head, like a worn out soldier dreaming of departed 
wars — and its silvery pool shining in the green hollow, the little bright 
eye of all the silent dell. Over the fir-clad ridge beyond we had a charming 
glimpse of Silverdale, and its pretty sequestered village near the sea. I 
understand that the sands on Silverdale shore are very fine for bathing. In 
this delightful dale there is a small lake called " Hawes Tarn, " crowded 
with pike, and remarkable for its thick bed of snow-white, tiny, univalve sea 
shells, of fragile beauty. The waters of this tarn are said to be affected 
by the rise and fall of the tide. The sun was shining all around, and we had 
a full view of " Farleton Knot," and the picturesque limestone bridges 
running eastward. In a far corner of the Milnthorpe Sands, the white 
tower of Heversham church peeped out prettily from the green woods 
down by the shore; whilst in the east all the great Yorkshire hills were 
robed in gloom, and solemn rollings of distant thunder told that a 
storm was raging among them. It was a glorious sight ; but cool gusts 
came now and then through the sunshine, and the trees on " Arnside 
Knot" began to talk of the coming tempest. Our old friend said that 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 9 

rain would certainly overtake us before the day had run by, and as a fir 
tree was but a riddly shelter in heavy showers, we had better go nearer 
the haunts of man. He pocketed his geological hammer, slung his strong 
wallet over his shoulder, and led on through scratchy brushwood, under the 
green shades that cover all the hill top, emerging on the open northern 
slope, from whence the view of " Whitbarrow," the shores and sands and 
channel of the Kent, and the distant mountains of Cumberland, is wonder- 
fully fine. Descending to the water side, our old friend donned his spec- 
tacles, and took out his hammer again ; and the two geologists wandered 
about the rocky shore in a trance of scientific delight, picking up many 
specimens interesting to them. One of these specimens I was requested to 
show to an eminent geologist in Manchester, whose name was familiar to 
them. We found some simple, substantial cheer at a little country inn, 
called the " Fighting Cocks," near the river side. From this place we went 
westward a mile or so, then up the valley of the Winster to "Castle 
Head," where we spent two pleasant hours in the house and grounds. From 
thence we crossed over " Aggerslack," down into " Lindal Lane," then 
up the opposite steep again, by way of "Slack Farm," right over the 
rocky summit of " Hampsfield Fell," descending into the old town of 
Cartmel, where we took tea at the "Cavendish Arms," the principal inn, 
which stands on the site of the ancient priory buildings, near the church. 
A seven mile walk in the gloaming through Cartmel park, by the woods 
of Holker, and partly over the Leven Sands, brought us to Ulverstone about 
ten at night, after twenty miles walk, just in time to get well wet by 
the storm which we had watched in the forenoon from the eastern edge of 
" Arnside Knot." In spite of this, I hardly ever had a more delightful 
ramble through a more finely-varied country than the one I had that day. 
After this passing notice of my excursion to Arnside, I will now return to 
my first ride to Ulverstone by rail. 

Soon after the train leaves Arnside Station, the great bay begins to show 
itself as we rumble over the fine viaduct that crosses the river Kent, and the 
yellow sands of its estuary spread out on each hand. One of my fellow- 
travellers pointed to a lonely stork standing quietly in the midst of the sandy 
waste, like some weird genius of the solitude. On the other side, near the 
embankment, the " Old John," the oldest trading vessel of Morecambe Bay, 
was ashore. The low slopes near the line are richly wooded with light-hued 
larch, and spruce, and fir, mingling beautifully with dark green yew trees. 
The line now clips the rocky shore for about a mile, and we are rolling over 
the little river Winster, one of the boundary lines of Lancashire and West- 
moreland ; but, like the rest of these waters in Morecambe Bay, so changeful 
in its course over the sands, that yon pretty island, a little way from the 
shore, which looks " as quiet as a spot of sky among the evening clouds," 
has been known to be first in Lancashire, then in Westmoreland, and back 



0VEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 11 

again in Lancashire, all in a month's time, through the caprice of this little 
Winster, which, when the fit is on it, thus plays at hide-and-seek with the 
two counties. The scenery richens as we roll along. The grand bay on one 
side, on the other picturesque rocks and snatches of woodland, sloping to the 
shore, with the wild fells behind, all going by in panoramic flight. It was 
about low water : the sun was setting, and all that great marine wilderness, 
beyond which the retired sea was out of sight,— if a long line of golden light, 
far off, had not told its whereabouts — that sandy expanse was so still that, 
but for here and there a stranded boat, and a smack left aslant on the shore 
in the distance, it might have been a sea-beach belonging to some world un- 
known to man. This threshold of the mighty sea, where its children come 
to play, and on which so many suns have looked the grand farewell of day, 
was once more lighted with a glory which made the pomp of man seem poor. 
This valley, on the right hand, through which the "Winster flows, is a 
beautiful scene. The level plain, enclosed by an irregular semicircle of hills, 
is all land reclaimed from the sea at different times. More than four hundred 
acres have been added to this reclamation by the new railway line. A 
remarkable conical hill, thickly clothed with wood, rises from the plain, in 
an isolated way. This singular height is called "Castle Head," anciently, 
" Atterpile Castle." There is a quaint mansion in a secluded part of the 
grounds, and " if ever there was a house with a story, that looks like one." 
The sea formerly washed round the hill, and, as the old mariner at Grange 
told me, "it must have been a capital place for smuggling in those days." 
" Castle Head" is supposed to have been a Roman settlement, or outpost of 
some kind, from the discovery of coins, ornaments, and other articles of 
Eoman workmanship. About sixty years ago many curious articles were 
found there, among which were parts of a human skull, vertebrae, &c, teeth 
of buffaloes, tusks of boar, pieces of limestone, resembling hen's eggs; rings 
of blue rag-stone, lead, clay, and glass; ninety-five sticas of Northumbrian 
kings, seventy-five Eoman coins, a stone, supposed to have been a mould for 
casting silver rings ; iron ore, petrified bone, pebbles, impressions of clay, 
pottery, or bone, and other ancient relics. This looks as if "Castle Head" 
was a place of many strange stories, which have drifted into the misty past 
to return no more. The tenantless hall of "Castle Head" stands amongst 
woods and gardens at the rearward base of this lonely-looking height. The 
sole inhabitants of the place, at present, consist of a Scotch gardener and 
his family. When I visited the spot, with my two scientific friends, we 
wandered sometime before we met with " Sandy," till, at last, by dint oi 
shouting — which seemed to hush into wistful stillness the lonely woods 
around — we roused him from one of the hothouses- He led us through the 
echoing rooms of the empty mansion, up to the roof, from which we had a 
good view of the gardens and grounds. After this we ascended, by circuitous 
paths, and rocky bemossed steps, terrace after terrace, to the shady plateau 



12 OVEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

upon the summit of this singular hill, which certainly is suggestive of a 
deserted encampment. I could imagine any of the races which have had 
mastery in Britain occupying that commanding eminence. The views over 
the bay, from embowered seats and recesses on the southern edge, are very 
beautiful. Obliging "Sandy" wis full of simple earnestness about ferns 
and flowers. He seemed to have little enthusiasm about anything but 
horticulture, except autographs, of which he showed us a curious store, 
collected during many years. He was quite at home in this picturesque 
solitude, although the place is said to be haunted, and "Thir folk i' the 
village o' Lindal, wha wadna walk ower't after dark for the hail estate." In 
the lower escarpment of rock, on the southern side, our old geological friend 
pointed out a place where the union of the two stratifications of slate and 
limestone shows distinctly. This is the only place in the district where this 
union is so clearly visible. 

Nearly opposite the green recess in which "Castle Head" is such a 
singular feature of the scene, " Holme Island" stands in the bay, about two 
hundred yards from the railway line, and, as Spenser says, it 

" Seems so sweet and pleasant to the eye, 
That it would tempt a man to touohen there." 

Less than half a century since, this island was little more than a bare rock — 
a lone domain of wind and wave, and birds that love the sea. Within that 
time, however, it has, at immense expense, been converted into a perfect 
marine paradise. Though not much more than ten acres in extent, the 
gardens and grounds are so tastefully varied that a man may ramble an hour 
or two about it and still find himself in a new scene— still meet with "some- 
thing rich and strange" — and, in some parts, the little landscape is so artfully 
natural in appearance that he might forget it was the result of man's taste 
and enterprise. On the western side of the island, a white limestone building, 
perfectly modelled after the temple of Vesta, looks out westward over the 
bay; and, in sheltered nooks, rock-hewn stairs lead down to sand-banks so 
smooth, so gently-swelling and secluded, that fair Sabrina might sit there 

"Under the cool translucent wave 
Her bright hair knittiag," 

free from fear of intrusion. The grounds and gardens are rich in plants and 
flowers of the rarest description, from all parts of the world. The house is 
shadily situated, about the middle of the island, among fine trees and tasteful 
grounds. 

From the highest points and openings in the shades of "Holme Island" — 
that sylvan gem of the waters — the views are wildly beautiful or solemnly 
grand, whichever way we turn. Far out, off the extreme north-western shore 
of the bay, the massive ruins of Peel Castle — that ancient stronghold of the 
abbots of Furness — stand mouldering in wild isolation among the waves. 



14 OVEB SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

They have done with the marauding Scot, the pomp of prelates, and the din 
of war ; and now, all silent and unsentinelled, they glide majestically into 
the wastes of time. Left to the washing wares and whistling winds — a 
crumbling shelter of the seabird — 

" The empty ruins lapsed again 
Into nature's wide domain, 
Sow themselves with seed and grain, 
As day and night and day go by." 

Leaving this ruined fortress, the eye travels along the low fertile shores on 
which Aldingham Castle and village, now washed away, once stood near 
the sea. The bold peaks of Higher Furness in the rearward of the scene. 
The village of Bardsea, Conishead Priory, the town of Ulverstone, and the 
beautiful estuary of the Leven, are all hidden from "Holme Island" by 
the promontory of Cartmel ; but on the north, it commands a fine view of 
the most picturesque part of the Cartmel shore, with the tops of its woody 
fells standing against the sky, like the wild outlines of a petrified tempest. 
Looking east, the fells between Lancaster and Kendal, and, beyond these, 
Ingleborough, and other Yorkshire hills, may be seen. Southward, and 
immediately opposite the island, is "Arnside Knot," with its fir-grove 
crown. Farther south, Warton Crags rise up, and villas and white 
mansions gleam among the thickly-wooded lower slopes, till Silverdale 
Point seems to shoot into the bay, like a great dark needle. Beyond this, 
the green ridges of Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Hest Bank, Heysham, 
Poulton-le-Sands, and the "Sunderland Shoulder," hide the estuary of the 
Lune, "that to old Lon caster his name doth lend," of which river Michael 
Drayton says so cheerily : — 

" For salmon me excels ; and for this name of Lun, 
That I am christened by, the Britons it begun, 
Which fulness doth import of waters still increase 
To Neptune lowting low, when christal Lune doth cease; 
And Conder coming in conducts her by the hand, 
Till lastly she salutes the Point of Sunderland, 
And leaves our dainty Lune to Amphitrite's care. 
So blyth and bonny now the lads and lasses are, 
That ever and anon the bagpipe up doth blow ; 
Cast in a gallant round about the hearth they go. 
And every village smokes at wakes with lusty cheer, 
Then hey, they cry, for Lun, and hey for Lancashire, 
That one high hill was heard to tell it to his brother." 

All this, however, gives but a very imperfect idea of the great extent and 
variety of view from "Holme Island." The shoreward scenes opposite are 
very beautiful. 



CHAPTER II. 



It is the shout of the coming foe, 

Ride, ride for thy life, Sir John ; 
But still the waters deeper grew, 

The wild sea foam rushed on. 

Old Ballad. 

A LiWle beyond " Holme Island," and about half-way between Carnfortli 
and Ulverstone, the train stops at the pretty seaside village of Grange. It 
looks very inviting from the railway, but not till one, is in it can they fairly 
see how pretty it is, and how fine the views are from its higher parts. From 
the rail it looks a cluster of gardens and white limestone houses scattered 
about the undulent lower slopes of " Yewbarrow," a craggy wooded height 
which fills the immediate background. It matters very little where you 
build a house in Grange, it is sure to have a pleasant outlook, and is never 
in the way of its neighbour ; for the land over which the dwellings are so 
picturesquely dribbled about is all fertile dingles, and knolls, and nest-like 
nooks, mixed with bloomy orchards, flower gardens, and scattered tufts of 
wood ; and there are several mansions thereabout, whose green shades and 
ornamental grounds give a park-like tone to the skirts of the village. The 
church, with its tiny "heaven-pointing" spire, stands on a green eminence 
at the head of the village. Near the church, as usual, there is a comfortable 
old inn. The open space in front of " The Crown," commands a good view 
of the eastern part of the bay, with the Yorkshire hills behind, and all the 
picturesque fells and wooded shores on the Lancaster side. Grange, though 
not unknown to fame among lovers of nature and wanderers to the sea, has, 
like the rest of Cartmel, been peculiarly secluded by its position. The 
Lancaster and Ulverstone line now runs by the foot of the village, bringing 
it into direct communication with the main lines from the south. Before the 
railway was made, the tide washed the garden walls of the village. 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 17 

As I walked about the open elevated ground in front of the "Crown," 
looking at the bay and the hills, I asked several questions of two or three 
villagers who were lounging about. They eyed me from head to foot, 
wondering where I came from, and what I had to do with their hills 
and dales ; at last, settling in their own minds that I must be a strange 
land-surveyor, preparing for fresh changes in that part of the country. 
I think the civil old landlord himself began to be puzzled, for, beckoning to 
a stalwart young man, who stood down in the village-street with a bundle of 
papers in his hand, he said—" That's the man for ye. He's read a deeal o' 
books. He knaas summat abaat ivvery thing, nearly ; an' he knaas mair 
abaat Grange, I sud think, than onybody at's in it." I found him an enthu- 
siastic entomologist and ornithologist, and a very unassuming, intelligent 
man, of manly manners. We sat down in the "Crown" chatting, and 
listening whilst " Aad Billy," a blind fiddler, who lives by scattering 
music among the kind-hearted folk of Cartmel Fells, played "Scots wha 
hae wi' Wallace bled," and "Bannocks o' bear meal, bannocks o' barley." 
The old man beat time with his foot, and accompanied his instrument with a 
curious croon, which made up in quaintness for what it lacked in harmony. 
I could not help thinking, as he sat there, that a country village without a 
blind fiddler is wanting in a valuable feature of human interest. Leaving 
" Aad Billy" at the end of " O'er Bogie," my friend proposed that we should 
go to the top of "Yewbarrow," the hill at the rear of the village, from 
the summit of which he said the views were magnificent. As we went 
out at the head of the village by a shady road, he opened the gate of a small 
enclosed knoll, on the right hand, saying, " Stop, my workshop is in here. 
We'll peep at it, if you like, before we go up." In the centre of this enclosure 
there was a rude, round hut, built of limestone, something like a large sum- 
mer-house. On entering, I found myself in a little museum, filled with 
strange birds, and carefully arranged glass cases of rare sheds and insects. 
Against the wall hung a broken skeleton head and horns of fhe Irish elk, 
which had been found in the neighbouring sands, a few years ago. In one 
corner was reared a large slab of red sandstone, from Storton, in Cheshire, 
on which were plainly imprinted the footsteps of some antediluvian creature ; 
he thought it was the plesiasaurus. The place was full of curiosities ; and I 
noticed a live wood owl, in a cage outside, with its large, lustrous eyes, 
blinking in the sunshine. Leaving this little sanctum of science, we went 
through the shady grounds of "Yewbarrow Lodge," and thence, by rocky, 
sinuous paths to the summit of " Yewbarrow." This hill takes its name 
from the yew tree, for the growth of which it is remarkable, and from 
" barrow," a cairn or burial place. Here I was glad to sit down and look 
round, for I was out of wind, and the view had grown grander as we 
rose. Morecambe and a great extent of its shores were full in sight, the 
slopes and lowlands all beauty and fertility, all above and in the distance 



18 OVEB SAKDS TO THE LAKES. 

wild and majestic. My friend told me that, on a favourable day, the town 
of Lancaster was almost as distinctly in sight as the houses at the foot of the 
hill; but he surprised me more by saying that all the great, ivy clad, lime- 
stone rocks upon the summit of " Yewbarrow," were unmistakably water- 
worn, that is, worn by the action of the sea. The village lay under the eye, 
as clearly as a map or model on a table. "We could see all its houses, perching 
or nestling in picturesque confusion, among straggling gardens and bloomy 
nooks. We could see all its mansions, with their rich grounds, and woods 
now spreading out the bright green of spring in the sunshine ; its white 
roads and bye lanes, winding through orchards, and under over-lapping 
trees, about the green knolls and dingles, and lacing the land with 
lines of ever-varying loveliness. Grange is no less pleasant in its own 
quiet beauty, and in the scenery about it, than in the salubrity of 
its climate, which is said to rival that of the southern coast of England. 
In spring, its average temperature is higher than that of any other 
place in the north of England. In summer, the heat is tempered by 
the saline breeze. Beautifully seated on this lower slope of " Yewbarrow," 
it is sheltered on the north and west by the green hills, and its natural 
charms are heightened by the never palling witcheries of the changeful sea. 
Artists, and other curious children of nature, who love to go about the world 
"spyin' fancies," as country folk quaintly call it, would find its neighbour- 
hood full of interest. 

It was a beautiful sight; and, as I descended the hill, by another route, 
to meet the train, I resolved that, if possible, it should not be long before I 
looked upon that peaceful nest again. 

The grandest height near Grange is "Hampsfell," at the rear of "Yew- 
barrow." Whosoever desires to see that country well, ought to ascend 
"Hampsfell," at sunrise or sunset, on a fine day, and he may look upon a 
scene of such magnificence as is rarely met with in any land. For those 
who are not strong, a carriage road leads up the south side of Eggerslack 
wood, nearly to the summit of the fell ; but the sturdy pedestrian should go 
out at the lower end of Grange, and up the narrow, romantic glen, called 
"Lindal Lane," till he comes to a farmhouse called "Slack," on the left hand 
side of the road. This shady gorge is a little fairy-land of woodland beauty 
in summer time. After crossing the yard of Slack farm, a rough footpath 
leads up through plantations of larch and spruce ; and coppice woods of oak 
and hazel, sprinkled, now and then, with the glittering birch — that silver- 
robed lady of the woods — the beech, the ash "for nothing ill," the alder, and 
the dark green yew, "obedient to the bender's will." These woods, which 
are carefully cultivated for " bobbin wood," hoops, wicker-work, and other 
purposes, are great sources of employment to the people around. As the 
traveller winds through the sylvan scene, by changeful pleasure upward led, 
he meets with glimpses of the sea, gleaming through the southward trees ■ 



OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 19 

and there is many a nook of the mountain path where he may sit in cool 
shadow, listening to the wild birds which fill all the woods with their tune- 
ful rejoicings. Emerging from this leafy screen, he finds rocky, unshaded 
moorlands, stretching upward still, in silent desolation. Great picturesque 
masses of limestone crop out from the heathery waste, their ragged crevices 
beautiful with plumy ferns. There is still a rude pathway to the summit, 
but, for a good walker, "Th' Crow-gate" across the moor will be more inte- 
resting. At last, the top of a square, squat limestone tower appears on the 
distant height. This is " Hampsfell Hospice," a modern erection, built by a 
former pastor of Cartmel parish, for the shelter and entertainment of wan- 
derers over the fell. As he draws nearer this little benevolent coronet of 
lonely "Hampsfell," mountain and vale, and land and sea, expand so glo- 
riously, that he cannot but halt now and then to gaze around with wonder 
and delight. Inside the tower there are stone seats, and a good fire-place, 
for which the heather around affords ready and abundant kindling. Upon 
the walls are wooden tablets, inscribed with verses allusive to the scenery, 
and the purpose of the building. From these I copied the following: — 

"This hospice has an open door, 
Welcome alike to rich and poor; 
A roomy seat for young and old. 
Where they may screen them from the cold ; 
Three windows that command a view, 
To north, to west, and southward too; 

A flight of steps requiring care ; ., 

A roof that shews a prospect rare ; 
Mountain and vale you thence survey, — 
The winding streams and noble bay. 
The sun at noon the shadow hides 
Along the east and westward sides. 
A lengthened chain holds guard around, 
To keep the cattle from the ground. 

Kind reader, freely take your pleasure, ■, 

But do no mischief to my treasure I" 

From the roof of this "Hospice" the views are indeed glorious, both in 
variety of character and extent of range. Fertile, peace-breathing valleys ; 
old castles and churches, and quaint hamlets and towns, — eloquent relics of 
past history; lonely glens, rich parks, and forest steeps; picturesque home T 
steads, in pleasant nooks of shelter; beautiful estuaries; the fresh blue bay ; 
bleak brown moorlands; wild craggy fells; and storm-worn mountains, 
each different in height and form,— the grand old guardians of the magnifi- 
cent scene. Beginning with Peel Castle, in the sea-washed west, the eye 
wanders over solemn Black Coombe, and Druid Swinstead, Fletcher Fell, 
Stoneshead, and all the Coniston range, in which the bold round peak of the 
"Old Man" is the most familiar mark. Then come Langdale Pikes, Scaw 
Fell, Great End, Bow Fell, part of Skiddaw, shewing itself beyond the gap 
of Dunmail; then "the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn," monarch of all 
c 



iO OTEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

that wonderful land of beautiful waters, rises up majestically above the green 
valley of St. John. Looking eastward, we see the pleasant vale of the Kent, 
with its fine estuary ; the woodland shores of Milnthorpe ; the grand crags 
of Whitbarrow and Farleton, with kindred limestone ridges stretching out 
beyond. Farther eastward the hills of Yorkshire rise in the blue sky. In 
the south, over Arnside, Silverdale, and Warton, we have the fells and green 
lowlands of the Lancaster side ; ridge after ridge then hides the Lune and 
the Wyre, till the masts and lighthouse of Fleetwood shew themselves far 
out to seaward. If the day be fine, the mountains of Wales, the Isle of Man, 
and even the coast of Ireland may sometimes be seen. It is a glorious com- 
bination of land and sea ; but, perhaps, the most charming bit of all the 
landscape is the valley of Cartmel, just at the western foot of Hampsfell. 
The little town, nestling round its venerable church, looks so near that one 
might almost expect to hear some sounds of life arise therefrom ; but it is as 
still down there in the middle of the sunlit vale as if it was only the quaint 
centre-piece in the pattern of a green carpet. 

I feel that what is here written gives but an imperfect idea of the won- 
derful prospects commanded by Hampsfell; and I can only add that no 
traveller, who has opportunity, and cares for the glories of nature, ought to 
go by that mountain unclimbed. I have noticed, after ascending some of 
the highest points of that district, that although the same objects may chance 
to be seen from several heights, yet the points of view are so different that 
in each case we get a new picture. 

In the neighbourhood of Grange there are several mansions and houses- 
of considerable interest, such as " Abbot Hall," "Hampsfield Hall." " Wither- 
slack Hall" — a fine old house, formerly belonging to the Earls of Derby j 
"Cark Hall," " Bi gland Hall," "Merlewood," and " Holker Hall," the 
favourite seat of the Duke of Devonshire, with its noble park sloping down 
to picturesque cliffs of mountain limestone and old red sandstone. Holker 
park contains many remarkable trees, of much greater size than is common 
so near the sea. 

The distance from Grange to Newby Bridge, at the foot of Windermere, 
is six miles. The road thither winds out at the lower end of Grange, be- 
tween the woody heights of Aggerslack and Blawith, and up the beautiful 
glen called " Lindal Lane." An omnibus runs twice a day in summer 
between these points, through the villages of Lindal and Newton. The 
village of Lindal, about two miles from Grange, is worth going a long way 
to look at. It is not only picturesque in itself, but is picturesquely situated 
among scenes of singular beauty, and commands an enchanting peep of 
the bay, with a view of the rich vale in which "Castle Head" is such a 
singular feature. The whole six miles ride to Newby Bridge through 
Cartmel Fells is full of interest to anyone who can enjoy the contrast of 
peaceful fertility overlooked by craggy wildness, which he will pass through 
on the way. 



OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 21 

Quaint Cartmel, the market town of the sequestered district which bears 
its name, is little more than two miles north of Grange — a pleasant walk 
over the hills on a fine day. Its noble old priory is the only conventual 
church in Lancashire which escaped mutilation after the dissolution of the 
monasteries. This escape arose from its being partly the parish church, as 
as well as the church of the priory. About three miles from this town, and 
about the same from Grange, is the famous <; Holy Well of Cartmel" — a fine 
medicinal spring, which is a great attraction in the summer months. Its 
waters are celebrated for the cure of gout, stone, and cutaneous diseases. 
For many years psst the miners employed in the Alston Moor Lead Mines, 
being liable to certain diseases arising from the nature of their labours, have 
made annual pilgrimage to the village of Kent's Bank, near here, in order to 
have the benefit of Cartmel's "Holy Well." Cartmel is a settlement of great 
antiquity. Camden says of the district, that " in 677, Egfrid, King of 
Northurnbria, gave St. Cuthbert the land, and all the Britons in it." " In 
1188," according to Baines, "the foundation of a priory for canons regular 
of St. Augustine was laid by William Mareschal, the elder, Earl of Pem- 
broke." His charter concludes with these words: — "This house I have 
founded for the increase of our holy religion, giving and granting to it every 
kind of liberty that heart can conceive, or the mouth utter ; and whoever 
shall in any way infringe upon these immunities, or injure the said priory, 
may he incur the curse of God, of the blessed Virgin Mary, and all other 
saints, as well as my particular malediction." This priory was enriched by 
many grants and donations of pontiffs and princes, and many "offerings of 
the faithful." The town is situated in a vale watered by two streams, one 
running north and the other south. Between these streams stands the fine 
old conventual church, with its curious belfry rising from the central tower, 
a square inscribed within a square diagonal to its base. Of course, there is 
a tradition connected with the foundation of Cartmel Priory. It seems that 
nearly seven hundred years ago, a number of foreign monks, wandering 
about the country in search of a settlement, somehow found their way into 
this, then, dense forest wild. They were preparing to build their church 
upon a hill-top in the neighbourhood, when a voice spoke to them out of the 
air, saying : " Not there ; but in a valley between two rivers, where the one 
runs north and the other south." It seems unfortunate that the voice should 
neglect to tell them where that valley was, as they happened to be so near 
it at the time. But it was so; for these homeless fathers wandered, after that, 
all over the north of England, in fruitless search, until they found the place, 
at last, near the very hill where they first heard "the voice in the air." 
Here, on an island of hard ground between these singular streams, they built 
the Priory of Cartmel, and dedicated it to St. Mary. They also built a smal] 
chapel on the hill, where they heard the voice, and they dedicated it to St. 
Bernard. The chapel is now gone, but the hill is called "St. Bernard's 
Mount " to this day. 



22 OVEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

Going from a place like Manchester into this little monastic town is almost 
like going to bed, or sinking into an antiquarian dream, all is so quaint and 
quiet. The market-place is a square of old-fashioned houses, with the fish 
stones near the middle. This old market-place looked so drowsy when I saw 
it that it seemed astonished if anybody walked across it. On one side, an 
ancient gateway leads into a cloistral old street, in which the principal inn is 
situated. This gateway is a relic of the original buildings connected with 
the priory. There are inns of more imposing appearance, but I met with 
kind attention and good cheer at the King's Arms, near the bridge, where I 
spent a pleasant hour among some hungry wood-cutters, who had been at 
work all day in the fells. Following the advice of a former traveller in Cart- 
mel, I had inquired of a man with a red nose, who happened to be leaning 
on the bridge, where I could get a good glass of ale, and he directed me to 
this house. I found the place filled with a very cheerful aroma; and, in a 
few minutes, 1 got so thick with the hungry woodcutters, who were waiting 
for their evening meal, that I was invited to join them at an immense dish of 
savoury "lobscouse," prepared by the handsome, £ood-tempered landlady. 
Judging by the alacrity with which the dish was emptied, I should say that 
every stomach there was in good order ; and I only hope these joUy woodmen 
had not miscalculated my capacity when they invited me to the feast, — for, 
simple as the fare was, the feast was fine. We finished off with oatcake, 
and butter and cheese, and a glorious dish of crisp water-cresses— the whole 
seasoned with a good deal of hearty fun, which is not the worst part of the 
best meal a man can eat. From this house the landlord directed me to an 
old building, occupied as a saddler's shop, in the opposite corner of the 
square. Here I found the parish clerk, William Lancaster, who kindly took 
me through the church and up to the top of the central tower. 

The walls of the choir and transept of this old church belong to the first 
erection ; the windows are of later date. There is a noble east window, 48 
feet high, containing some fine stained glass. On the north side of the 
proper choir is a narrow chapel, anciently called the "Piper's Choir;" and on 
the south side what is called the "Town Choir," which has two stone seats 
for the officiating priests. This is supposed to have been anciently the parish 
church. There are 26 ancient stalls in the choir, with their grotesquely- 
carved misereres, all in perfect condition. There are many ancient monu- 
mental decorations in this church; but the most remarkable is a magnificent 
monument of the Harrington family, under an arched canopy. In the old 
library I was shown some rare and curious books, among which were the 
following: — "The Second Part of the Faerie Queene, containing the Fourth, 
Fifth, and Sixth Bookes. By Ed. Spencer. Printed at London, for William 
Ponsonby, 1596." A folio copy of "Fox's Book of Martyrs," in black letter, 
1610. A black-letter Bible, in six vols , printed at Basle, in 15u2. A quarto 
copy of the works of Thomas Aquinas, in black letter, printed at Venice, in 



OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES 23 

1506. A quaint little volume entitled " Apophthegemes New and Old, col- 
lected by the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, 
1625." The Ancient Parish Eegister of Cartmel for the last 300 years. As 
we came out the clerk pointed to the Duke of Devonshire's pew ; and I found, 
everywhere, that his grace, and the family altogether, have the right good- 
will of the people of Cartmel. After a parting stroll by twilight round the 
noble old church, and its calm, quaint, pastoral town, just as the stars began 
to struggle with declining day, I took the lonely road to Grange, through 
Allithwaite, a rude village, whose inhabitants, like those of Cark and Flook- 
borough, live mainly by fishing and cockling upon the sands. 

These villages consist principally, in each case, of one straggling street 
of humble cottages ; and, though there is not much attraction in their 
outward appearance, considerable interest attaches to the peculiar way of 
human life therein. Some idea of the fishery on this shore may be had from 
the fact that, in addition to fiook, plaice, salmon, and other fish, there is 
sometimes as much as one thousand tons of cockles sent from Cark, in one 
season, principally to the manufacturing towns of Lancashire. Cockles are 
found in large beds, called " skeers." The fish is buried about an inch below 
the surface, and its place is known by two little holes in the sand, called 
" eyes ;" from thence the cockier whips out the fish with a kind of three- 
pronged bent fork, called a " craam." Although these cocklers generally 
belong to the poorest class of people, no quarrels take place among them on 
the sands. This arises from a firm belief that if ever they quarrel upon the 
sands, the cockles would leave that place with the next tide. 

It is in these three fishing villages that the lead-miners of Northum- 
berland and other visitors to the "Holy Well" take up their quarters, but 
chiefly, I believe, at Flookborough, where there is comfortable accommodation 
to be had. Flookborough, as its name indicates, was formerly a market 
town, holding a charter granted to the Prior of Cartmel, by Edward the First 
After the dissolution, this charter was removed to Cartmel. The first part of 
the name may or may not come from the fish so common on these shores, — 
but 1 heard that a certain dignitary of the church, once visiting there, inquired 
of a villager how many souls (soles) there were in the place, and the man 
replied, " Well, I dinnet justly knaa ; but here's a terrible deeal o' nooks 
abaat." 

The country between Grange and the Leven sands, about five miles, 
is very interesting. Soon after the train leaves Grange, we run through 
a rocky cutting, which brings us to Cark station, two miles from Cart- 
mel, to which town an omnibus runs daily in summer time. The line 
then passes Kent's Bank, with its pleasantly-situated villas, near which 
" Abbot Hall,'' a modest, modern mansion, stands in that green corner 
of the shore, on the site of an old house, said to have belonged to a slyly- 
jovial prelate of the olden time. Leaving this place, we run about two 



24 OVER SAWDS TO THE LAKES. 

miles by the promontory of Humphrey Head, and then begin to cross 
Ulverstone sands. The scenery about Humphrey Head is a fine mixture 
of the bold and the beautiful ; and the country around is full of picturesque 
rambles. Up in its grand yew-crowned cliffs there is a remarkable cave, 
believed by the natives to be an abode of fairies. The famous " Holy Well " 
is on the western shore of this fine promontory. 

Upon a low fertile level, between Grange and Humphrey Head, a little 
grey ruin stands near the line. This is Wraysholme Tower, formerly a 
fortified house, belonging to the knightly family of Harrington, of Aldingham 
Castle, in Low Furness. The Saxon town of Aldingham belonged to this 
family in 1346. Both town and castle have long since been swept away by 
the sea. 

There is more than one legend connected with this ancient tower. 
The following, called "The Last Wolf," is given in the "Eemains of John 
Briggs," editor of the old Lonsdale Magazine. It appears from the tradition, 
which has been put into spirit-stirring verse a few years ago, by an anony- 
mous writer, that in the proud old days of Wraysholme, Sir Edgar Harrington 
had sworn to hunt down the last wolf "in England's spacious realm," whose 
haunt was the woody height of Humphrey Head, and whose prey the flocks 
and herds of Wraysholme. On the eve of the chase Sir Edgar held a mighty 
carousal at the tower, among his retainers and noble guests. During 
the feast he swore that the last wolf should "grace the conqueror's helm," 
and, also, that — 

"Whoe'er that wolf should quell, 
Should have his fair niece for a bride, 
And half his lands as well." 

The orphan lady Adela, old Sir Edgar's ward, with jet black hair of glossy 
sheen, and bright hazel eyes, was beloved of all the country round ; but her 
heart and troth were with a gallant young knight of the name of Harrington, 
Sir Edgar's son, who, having fled to shun his father's wrath, was supposed 
to be dead in foreign lands. He seems, however, to have turned up at this 
great hunting feast just in time, after winning honour against the swarthy 
Saracen, disguised under the title of Sir John Delisle, in whom, nevertheless, 
the old retainers of Wraysholme see that — 

" A long lost wanderer meets their sight, 
Whate'er his name be now." 

But, as usual, there are cross purposes in this old tale of love and chivalry, 
for Layburne, another brave knight, and the friend of Sir Edgar, sits by the 
board, close suitor for the fair lady, though "from her soul abhorred." The 
night drives on in song and jest, and brimming goblets, 

"Till late, with plenteous cheer oppressed, 
And foaming tankards drowned, 
The revellers retire to rest, 
And silence sinks around." 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 25 

At break of day old Hubert's horn wakes the sleepers to a mighty hunting. 

" Full threescore riders mount with speed, — 
Amidst them Layburne strides 
A gallant steed of Flemish breed. 
That well his weight abides. 

" Whilst mounted on an Arab white, 
Of figure light and free, 
Rides young Delisle, the stranger knight, 
AH wrapt in mystery." 

The huntsman leads the gallant company up to the wolf's covert on 
Humphrey Head. The dogs get the track of their grisly prey, and a brave 
chase begins, over Kirkhead and Holker to Newby Bridge, where they swim 
the "Leven's brawling flood." On, through woodland glen, and over wild 
hill they go, in clamorous dash, till the "grey beast" finds brief shelter in 
the recesses of Coniston Old Man. Here the hunters breathe ; but their 
hounds are staunch, and their horses good as ever broke cover or dashed 
through a wood ; the dogs are on the track again like grim death ; away by 
Esthwaite, and on to the green shores of Windermere, where the panting 
savage takes the water at one bold plunge, "and leaves his foes behind." 
The rival knights, Layburne and Delisle, follow, "foremost of the dripping 
train," and win the eastern side of the lake. Two tireless bloodhounds keep 
the scent, and the chase continues along the shore to " craggy Gummer- 

shaw," 

"Then turns aside to Witherslack, 
Where Winster's waters range, 
And thence to shingly Aggerslack, 
And sand-surveying Grange." 

The doomed brute now makes with the instinct of despair for his old shelter 
on Humphrey Head, but as mild evening sinks upon the scene, the fatal 
hounds are on his track — and he is driven madly towards a wild chasm, 

"Begirt by rock on every side, 
That slopes in shade away." 

Wolf and dogs rush o'er the steep. Layburne's horse starts back from the 
awful chasm ; but impetuous Delisle spurs on, and his fiery steed sweeps to 
destruction down the shrouded crag like a flash of lightning — 

" The shingles in its headlong course 
With rattling din give way, 
The hazels snap beneath its force, 
The mountain savins sway." 

At this terrible crisis the fair Adela chances to be pacing the hollow glen 
on her light palfrey, when the wolf appears in sight, and "bares his 
glistening teeth." 

" Her eyes are closed in mortal dread, 
And e'er a look they steal, 
The wolf and Arab both lie dead, 
And scathless stands Delisle. 



OVER BANDS TO THE LAKES. 

" Full promptly from the slaughtered prey, 

He plucks the reeking spear, 

And cries ' Oh, beauteous Adela, 

Behold thy true love here !' " 



Sir Edgar now appears, and discovering in Delisle his lost son, welcomes 
him affectionately, and gives him the hride of his heart. By blessed hap the 
Prior of Cartmel is on his way " to drink at the Holy Well," and be consents 
to perform the marriage ceremony at once in the neighbouring cavern. 

" And hence that cave on Humphrey Hill, 
Where these fair deeds befell, 
Is called Sir Edgar's chapel still, 
As hunters wot full well, 

" And still that holy fount is there, 
To which the Prior came ; 
And still it boasts its virtues rare, 
And bears its ancient name. 

" And long on Wraysholme's lattice light 
A wolf's head might be traced, 
In honour of the redcross knight, 
Who bore it for his crest. 

"In Cartmel church his grave is shown, 
And o'er it, side by side, 
All graved in stone, lies brave Sir John, 
And Adela his bride." 

Such is the legend of "The Last Wolf," connected with this ruined tower 
of Wraysholme, the ancient abode of the Harringtons of Aldingham, in Low 
Furness. I find that, forty years ago, the place was sheltered by clumps of 
old trees. These are now gone, and the tower is a mere outhouse to the 
neighbouring farmstead. 

Cark is the nearest station to Holker, the Duke of Devonshire's Cartmel 
seat. Holker Hall belongs to the middle of the sixteenth century, when it 
was the residence of a branch of the ancient family of Preston, of Preston 
Patrick, in Westmoreland. About a century ago this beautiful estate came 
into the possession of the Cavendish family. The park is full of rich sylvan 
landscapes, and it contains many noble trees, and trees of very rare kiuds. 
There are delightful walks on the woodland heights behind the park, which 
command good views of Leven water, Thurston Vale, tbe mountains at the 
head of Windermere, and the Coniston range. 

When the train clears Humphrey Head, the banks of the Leven estuary 
open beautifully in sight. Wild, rich-hued limestone crags straggle up 
the north-east side, under overhanging woods, and the low shore is 
all fertile undulations. The bold railway mole now crosses Ulverstone 
Sands, and we rumble over a lofty viaduct, where the broad Leven rolls wild 
and turbid underneath, as if glad to escape from this daring evidence of man's 
enterprise, to the uncontrollable ocean beyond. The views from the line as 
we cross these sands are peculiarly fine, for this estuary is perhaps the most 



28 OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

picturesque of any in Morecambe Bay. Westward, Birkrigg rises above the 
rich woods and glades of Conishead Priory. A little westward we see the 
white village of Sandside, opposite to which, about a mile from the shore, is 
that interesting little isle of prayer, called "Chapel Island," with its old 
rained chantry hidden in the trees. Behind Sandside, the grey smoke of 
Ulverstone hovers above the valley at the foot of " Hoad Hill." The traveller 
may know this hill by the lighthouse-shaped monument on the top. Further 
along the shore there is a little cluster of shipping at the port of Ulverstone. 
The low grounds beyond are, first great tracts of yellow sand, then pleasant 
holms and valleys ; behind these, woody uplands and lofty moors filling the 
rear of the landscape. The extreme northward view-of the estuary is bounded 
by a great cluster of Cartmel fells, rising peak after peak. Looking eastward, 
the shore is a beautiful combination of rock and wildwood, with the great 
ridge of Hampsfell peeping over the promontory of Humphrey Head. 

The Ulverstone sands are considered more dangerous than those on the 
Lancaster side. Mr. Baines, speaking of the old route over this estuary, 
says: — " The track is from Holker Hall to Plumpton Hall, keeping Chapel 
Island a little to the left ; and the mind of a visitor is filled with a mixture 
of awe and gratitude, when, in a short time after he has traversed this 
estuary, almost dry-shod, he beholds the waters advancing into the bay, and 
bearing stately vessels towards the harbour of Ulverstone, over the very path 
which he has so recently trodden." The Priory of Conishead was anciently 
charged with the cost of guides across this estuary. So dangerous were 
these sands considered, that on "Chapel Island," about a mile west of the 
line, the old monks of Furness built the small chapel, where prayers were 
daily offered " for the safety of the souls of such as crossed the sands with 
the morning tide." There are still some remains of this ancient chapel, 
which gave its name to the island; and, though "long yeai's have darkened 
into time" since the prayers of the church were regularly heard there, no 
man walks about the shades of this little seaworn solitude without feeling 
that something of the solemn interest of its ancient associations lingers with 
it still. The island is now a favourite resort of pleasure seekers, who 
cross at low water from the village of Sandside, about a mile distant — 
and, even in that short distance, sometimes meet with disaster. The three 
miles over Leven sands must have been destructively dangerous, for, 
"according to a petition from the Abbot of Furness, in 19 Ed. 2, the number 
of sixteen at one time, and six more at another, were sacrificed in this way ; 
and in order to eschew the great mortality of the people of Furness on passing 
the sands at ebb of tide, he prayed that he should have a view of frankpledge 
and a coroner of his own ; for everywhere," he says, "it would be the salva- 
tion of one soul at least." 

The train is now quitting the sands, and we draw near to Ulverstone 
town. Long strings of carriages go by heavily laden with the rich iron ore 



50 



OVEE SAITDS TO THE LAKES. 



of Furness. I was told that the mines of this district now produce between 
seven and eight hundred thousand tons of the finest ore in England every 
year. Thirty years ago, old Captain Barrow, of Ulverstone, carried all the 
iron ore got in Furness iu one small vessel. This Captain Barrow was 
cousin to Sir John Barrow, late secretary to the Admiralty, whose monument 
stands on the top of "Hoad," the great round hill, at the right hand side of 
the line as we run over the railway bridge towards Ulverstone. Sir John 
was born of very humble parentage, in a little cottage at Dragley Beck, near 
this town. 




BIRTHPLACE OF 8TR JOHN BARROW, AT DRAQLEY EffiOK. 



CHAPTER III. 



" About me round I saw 
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, 
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams ; by these 
Creatures that lived, and moved, and walked, or flew, 
Birds on the branches warbling ; all things smiled ; 
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed." 

Milton. 

The view of Ulverstone and the country about it, as seen from the high 
road near the station, is very picturesque. The town is pleasantly situated 
in a vale, on the shores of the Leven estuary, among the hills of Low Furness; 
and it stands at convenient distances from so many points of interest that I 
took up head quarters at the well-known Sun Hotel, in the market place. 
Fiom hence I made daily excursions into the neighbourhood; and one of my 
first rambles was to Swarthraoor, about a mile from the town. Swarthmoor 
Hall was, for many years, the residence of George Fox, founder of the Society 
of Friends. Leaving Ulverstone by the south road, about two hundred yards 
past the railway station, a bye-path leads over the fields on the right hand 
a little way, then down into a shady deli, through which a clear rivulet 
plays its moody music, running out of sight again at the south end, under 
thick, low-lapping branches, which gaze into it and dally with its silvery 
ripples, as if in love with this limpid minstrel, whose song softens into silence 
in the .woods beyond. This quiet dell is a fairy chapel of sylvan beauty, 
where the ceaseless hymn of nature is seldom disturbed by other sounds. In 
the deepest part of the hollow, an old stone bridge, shaded by tall trees, 
crosses the stream ; from thence a rugged footpath climbs the opposite fields, 
and in about a quarter of a mile leads close by the rear of a hoary pile of 
stone outhouses of rude appearance. The road may be miry, but whoever 
he be that goes that way, in rain or fair weather, let him linger there a 
breathing while, for the old house in front of these buildings is Swarthmoor 
Hall, the residence of George Fox. On my first visit, I wandered about 
some time before I could find any human creature astir. A contemplative 
charm seemed to lie upon all around. The house is a large, irregular, 



32 



OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



Elizabethan building, witn nothing grand about it, save the impressive 
memories of the great reformer who dwelt in it two centuries ago. The 
doorways are small ; some of the windows are built up ; and it has 
altogether a bald appearance, considering its size and former importance. 
But the home of the persecuted puritan still looks over those quiet fields 
with a kind of ascetic solemnity, as if it was mingling dreams of the 
past with a patient waiting for the result of slow decay. I wandered about 




SWARTHMOOR HAIL. 

the rough, cattle-trodden yard, among mire, and straw, and farming-gear, 
yet all was still, except a few ducks dabbling in a muddy pool, and a peaceful 
dog that roamed about the outhouses, regardless of my presence. There was 
no sign of life even about the windows. At last, I came to a kind of kitchen 
at the rear of the hall, where I found the mistress of the house and her 
servants, throng at their washing. When I had explained the purpose of 
my visit, the mistress pointed to a rude gate at the end, which opened to the 
front of the hall. I went through and found myself in a little green paddock, 
where there was not even one rose left " to mark where a garden had been." 
There were the principal windows, — one little window looking out from 
George Fox's study ; the other two were old-fashioned bay windows, much 
larger. Between these was the small old doorway, to which two rude stone 
steps led up. All else was plain and unpretending; and all other windows 
in the lower part of the frontage were built up. Inside, I was shown the 
" hall," a quaint, flagged apartment, on the ground floor, with a great old- 
fashioned fire-place, and a kind of stone dais in the recess of the mullioned 
window. Here, I was told, the earliest meetings of the " Friends" were held. 
From this room, two steps led up to the little solemn sanctuary which was 
Fox's study ; and I felt as if every footfall there was an intrusion ; for that 



OVKE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



33 



dim-lighted room, with its tiny lattice and quaint furniture, was the cell of 
a saint, " of whom the world was not worthy." His bed has been removed 
from its ancient apartment into a room where the farm servants sleep ; and 
I was told that his Bible is now in the possession of a lady belonging 
to the Society of Friends, in Ulverstone. Before Fox married the pious 
widow of Judge Fell, he was once dragged from this house and imprisoned 
all night in Ulverstone, under a guard of fifteen men, some of whom were 
perched in the fireplace, for fear that he should fly up the chimney, and so 
escape. From thence he was removed to Lancaster Castle, where he suffered 
a long imprisonment. George Fox seems to have turned Ulverstone and the 
country about it upside down in those days, preaching in all sorts of pulpits 
and private houses, and sometimes in the open market-place. He was once 
shamefully maltreated in the churchyard of St Mary's, at Ulverstone, after 
preaching to the congregation there. About a quarter of a mile west of the 
hall there is a plain substantial chapel,— the first chapel of the disciples of 
George Fox, — built at his own cost, in 1688. It stands in a little flagged 




GEORGE FOX'S CHAPEL, ON SWARTHMOOR. 

enclosure, surrounded by a stone wall about nine feet high. The white door 
of the yard was open when I saw it, and the " Friends " were met within, — 
yet there was no sound, but the sea breeze whistling across the fields 
of Swarthmoor. Above the entrance was this inscription, plainly graven, 
" Ex dono, G. F., 1688." At the western end of the chapel there is a croft, 
which was presented with the chapel, for the accommodation of the horses of 
such Friends as came from a distance. 

About a mile west of Fox's Chapel, a byeway leads into the old Roman 
road, at a place where a tesselated pavement was found a few years ago. 
A mile further in the same direction brings us to the bleak summit of 
" Birkrigg," which commands a new and extensive prospect of the bay, and 
its north and eastern shores. The pretty village of Bardsea is full in sight, 
at the foot of the hill. On the southern slope of this rocky moorland there is 



34 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



a small Druidical temple, — a circle of nine hoary stones, which, with one 
exception, are still more or less upright. A quarter of a mile west of this 
relic of British history, and near an antique farmhouse, called "Sunbreak," 
there is a lonely burial ground, looking out towards the sea. This is 
the oldest graveyard of the Society of Friends. It is surrounded by a high 
stone wall, and carefully kept in order. The door is generally locked, but I 
found it simply fastened with a staple and chain, and a wooden peg. The 
interior contains no visible commemoration of the dead ; but a thick swathe 
of the greenest grass covers the whole area, save on the higher side, where 
picturesque fragments of limestone rock, rising above the rich herbage, are 
so beautifully bemossed here and there, that it seems as if nature, in her 
quiet, lovely way, had taken in hand to keep the memories of these nameless 
tenants of the dust for ever green. There was something more touchingly 
beautiful, more suggestive of repose, in the recordless silence of this lone 
graveyard of the persecuted puritan, than in any cemeteries adorned with 
grand efforts of monumental art — which so oft intrude upon the solemnity of 
death things sullied by the vanities of the living. The sacred simplicity 
of the spot made one feel more deeply how sound they slept below, in that 
unassailable shelter from the hurtful world. The very Seabreeze seemed to 
pause there, and pass over this place of unawaking dreamers iu a kind of 
requiem-hush. 

Gleaston Castle is about six miles from Ulverstone. The direct road to it 
lies through the old village of Urswick. At the end of this village there 
is a fine tarn close by the highway. The people of Urswick Vale have 
a legend that the ruins of an ancient town lie beneath the waters of this 
tarn. Near Urswick there is the small monastic ruin of Bolton Chapel, 
standing in a farm-yard, by the road, and now used as a cowhouse. Leaving 
this village, we pass Redmond Hall, the seat of a family once known in Eng- 
lish history. About a mile from GLaston Castle, in a hollow of the fields, on 
the left hand side of the road, there is a pretty little sheet of water, called 
Mere Tarn, swarming with pike. The ruins of Gleaston Castle are of con- 




QLEASTON CASTLE. 



siderable extent. The castle originally consisted of four square towers, 
connected by strong curtain walls, defending an enclosure, the length of 
which seemed to me about one hundred yards. One of these towers has 



OVEE SANDS TO THE LAKES 35 

disappeared, and the other three are more or less ruinous ; hut the sum- 
mits of two may yet be easily ascended by the stone steps which wind 
up in the thickness of the massive walls. In its palmy days, this castle 
must have looked imposing in the heart of the little vale, where it seems 
to have been placed more for shelter and seclusion than for anything 
commanding in position. It was built by the Flemings, lords of the 
ancient manor of Much Land. The possessions of Michael le Fleming were 
the only lands in all Furness exempted from the grant made by Stephen, 
Earl of Bologne and Moreton, to Furness Abbey. The name of tbis Michael, 
which the natives pronounce " Mickle," still clings to old associations in 
this neighbourhood, as in the case of " Mickle Well,'' not meaning great 
well, but " Michael's Well." I remember how, on that breezy day, when, 
with two friends, I visited the ruins of this castle, as we were casting 
about Gleaston in hungry search of a dinner, we found this old well 
in a mossy corner at the entrance of the village. The stones about it were 
worn by the footing of many generations, and the water was so clear that 
I could have seen a single thread of a lady's hair at the bottom of it. 
I remember, too, that when we were beginning to despair of finding any- 
thing like substantial refreshment, we met with it at the very last house on 
the western edge of the village, a clean little hostelry, where we got an 
excellent dinner of eggs and bacon, cheese, ale, pickles, salad fresh from the 
garden behind the house, and three quarts of buttermilk ; in addition to 
which, I had my shoe mended ; and we were treated with more than com- 
mon civility, all for the low charge of three and sixpence, — which was 
received with satisfaction. The way of the shoe business was this, — I had 
burst the seam of it, and it was getting squashy with wet, for we had had a 
delightfully rough tramp o'er moss and fell, and through miry bye-roads, 
that day. The good wife at the alehouse offered to get it mended for 
me whilst dinner wis cooking. The old man lent me a shoe of his own to 
put on meanwhile. It was as hard as an iron pot ; in fact, it had a consider- 
able weight of iron work about it, and for any rough work, I felt that that 
one shoe was worth at least four pair such as mine. With one foot handi- 
capped in this clog of iron and leather, I amused myself with walking about 
the clean floor of slate stone, listening to the difference of sound in my foot- 
steps, which went "fuzz, clang— fuzz, clang," reminding me of the three 
bells of a little country church that I have heard of, one of which was 
sound, the next cracked, and the third mended with leather,— their united 
music amounting to a kind of " ding, dang, puff." The shoe came back 
mended before dinner was over, and a thrill of returning comfort went 
through my frame when I got it on, for I had felt as if walking with a wet 
dish-cloth round my foot a while before. As we returned through the village, 
one of my friends proposed that we should just look in upon a relation of his, 
an old shoemaker, and a quaint man, well versed in the folk lore of the dis- 



36 OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

trict. He then led us up to one of the most comfortable-looking cottages I 
ever saw. The floor was as clean as a plate just laid down for dinner, the 
place smelt as sweet as an herb-stall, and all the polishable metal things shone 
like pools of water in moonlight. The cheerful old wife, whose ruddy face 
was bedded in a snowy old-fashioned cap, and whose eyes, in spite of age 
and spectacles looked as bright as the stars on a frosty night, rose from her 
arm-chair, and hobbled about with her crutch, smiling and talking, and 
talking and smiling, as if she didn't know exactly what to do to show that 
she was very fain. At last, opening the door of an inner room, where the 
hearty old fellow and his son sat at work, she said, " What, dinnet ye see 
wha's here ?" Dropping his hammer, and brushing the dirt from his leather 
apron, the old man rose above six feet into the air, pushed up his spectacles, 
and shouted, " Why, it never is, sewer ! It cannot be reightly, can it I It's 
nowt i'th warld else, aw declare ! Well, this is a capper, hooivvir ! What 
ye're reight good stuff for sore e'en, mon ! Whatever quarter's th' wind in, 
at ye're blawn this gate on ? Well, cum, cum ; sit ye daan, an' let's mak 
use on ye while ye are here." " Ye hevn't hed ye're teea, aw wamd," 
said the good wife. But we were already primely filled with good things ; 
and no other feast could have been so delightful as the genial welcome 
which the old couple gave us. The day, too, was waning, with an un- 
certain sky, and we had several miles to go. As we sat talking with the 
old man, a fine pair of new double-soled shooting boots stood at my elbow. 
I took them up, and asked what such a pair would cost. He said they 
couldn't be done like them under a pound. "But," said he, "ye sud ha-' 
sin a shoe that I stitched abaat an haar sin, for some poor tramp. I 
nivver see a warse made shoe i' my life, I think. An' he couldn't hev hed 
'em lang, nawther, — t' leather wur so fresh." As he went on talking, I slowiy 
lifted my foot till it came fairly into his sight. "Hello!" said he, with a 
confused gaze, "What, wor it yaar shoe?" It was. "Well then," replied 
he, " All at I can say is, at yer wit's a deeal better nor yer understandin' ! " 
We had a good deal of gleeful talk with the old folk ; after which six miles' 
walk in a high wind through the vale of Urswick brought us to Ulverstone, 
at the edge of dark, well pleased with our day's ramble. 

Conishead Priory is rather more than a mile south of Ulverstone. There 
is a good road through the finest part of Conishead Park to the pretty village 
of Bardsea, which village is about three miles from Ulverstone. The road 
goes near the princely mansion, the seat of the Braddylls, which stands upon 
the site of the ancient priory. The entrance hall retains some relics of the 
old monastic buildings. About a mile beyond the priory, Bardsea Hall stands 
at the right hand side of the road, in a sheltered spot under the woods, and 
almost hidden from the traveller by a high wall. This quaint building was 
erected by the Molyneux family, as a hunting seat, and it is supposed to 
occupy the site of the ancient hospital of Bardsea, the oldest ecclesiastical 



38 OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

establishment in Furness. This religious house was in existence in the 
latter part of the eleventh century, and had disappeared before the founda- 
tion of Conishead Priory. The best view of the Priory, and its beautiful 
park scenery, is from the summit of the woods behind Bardsea Hall. 

Bardsea takes its name from the British word, " Bertesig," a place of 
thickets, as it appears in Doomsday Book. The village is pleasantly situated 
on a green eminence sloping gently to the sands. The woods, and dells, 
and quiet shore of this pretty sea-side nook, are full of pleasant walks. 
There is an antique mansion called " The Well House," which is an object 
of interest. In the village there are two respectable inns, and I found com- 
fortable fare at the Cavendish Arms, where the landlord, Mr. Gilchrist, a 
gallant, old, retired preventive officer, from Cumberland, delighted me with 
his tales of wild adventure among the smugglers on the Scottish border, in 
"auld lang syne." 

Aldingham is about three miles along the sea-side, west of Bardsea. The 
road goes through the extensive plantations of " Seawood," the property of 
the Crown ; and through the old village of Baycliffe. The sea is either 
gleaming beautifully through the woods, or is in open sight, most of the way. 
Aldingham Church looks lonely standing there in its little grave-yard by 
the sea, as if musing on the old Saxon town long since devoured by the 
hungry waters. This was originally the parish church of the ancient 
manor of Much Land, which extended over the present Aldingham and 
Gleaston, and over several villages, such as Rhos, Lies, and Crimelton, 
which have been swallowed by the sea centuries ago. Nothing now remains 
of them but the account of their extent and value, preserved in the ancient 
records of Furness Abbey. This church is all that is left of the old town of 
Aldingham, the knightly residence and property of the Harringtons, one of 
which family, Lord de Harrington, died at the head of the Furness men, 
fighting for the Red Rose, at the battle of Wakefield. The church retains 
some parts of the original building in its round pillars, and in one of the 
doorways. The arms of the Harringtons appear in the east window. The 
rectory stands close to the church ; and the present rector is the Rev. John 
Macaulay, brother of the famous historian and statesman. 

Six miles by rail from Ulverstone, the magnificent ruins of Furness Abbey 
stand in the glen called "Bekanks Gill," or the Vale of the Deadly Night- 
shade, a sylvan seclusion, so cloistral in its character, that it might have 
been intended by nature to receive the grand pile, whose " bare ruined choirs" 
now lend such an impressive charm to the scene. This famous abbey was 
endowed with extraordinary wealth and power ; and its prelates were 
temporal princes, ruling with almost absolute sway over a district as large 
as the Isle of Man ; and yet, those white-robed monks from Savigny, and 
their successors, were the humanising mediators between feudal tyranny 
and serfdom, in the rough old days. I am told that the language of 






40 OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

the common people of Furness still retains French words and idioms not 
found elsewhere in Lancashire, — lingering relics of the secular influence of 
the foreign ecclesiastics who ruled this remote corner of England so long. 
It would be easy to give an architectural description of the ruins from care- 
ful works already written, but I refrain partly from want of room, and partly 
because the visitor can buy all that information for a trifle on the spot itself. 
I may say, however, that in addition to the general effect, the high altar 
with its beautiful sedilia, the chapter-house, and the Abbot's private chapel, 



';■■■:•:■ :^£^**^ , ! ; !li:;';fe?;#fK. 

'■''■.:■■■ : . 






i 
i 



§ 



ir'!l§|8| 

Hi 










■■ :V' 



CHAPTER, BOUSE, FURNESS ABBEY. 



were particularly interesting to me. Though this monastery has lost the 
grand proportions of its old completeness, it is still robed in beauty, that 
" sole permanence in being's ceaseless flow ;" and kind nature is quietly 
claiming its remains for her own again. It is a spot to linger in until the 



OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 



41 



solemn beauty of it becomes an enduring treasure of the spirit. Reading 
trie ancient charter of its foundation, I was so struck with the beauty of one 
passage in it, that I think the reader will excuse me for repeating it here. 
The words are as follows, from " West's Antiquities of Furness" : — " In the 
name of the Blessed Trinity, and in honour of St. Mary of Furness, I, 
Stephen, Earl of Bologne and Moreton, consulting God, and providing for 
the safety of my own soul, the soul of ray wife the Countess Matilda, the 
soul of my lord and uncle Henry King of England and Duke of Normandy, 
and for the souls of all the faithful, living as well as dead; in the year of our 
Lord 1127 of the Boman indietion, and the 5th and 18th of the Epact; 
considering every day the uncertainty of life, that the roses and flowers of 
kings, emperors, and dukes, and the crowns and palms of all the great, 
wither and decay ; and that all things, with an uninterrupted course, tend 
io dissolution and death: I therefore return, give, and grant to God and St. 
Mary of Furness, all Furness and Walney," &c, &c. 

Dalton, the ancient capital of Furness, is about a mile from the abbey, 
and four from Ulverstone. The Eoman road from Maryport to Lancaster 
passes through this town, and it was the site of a Eoman station (Galacum). 
In Saxon times, this town belonged to Earl Tosti. Later, it was the manor 
court and market town of the abbots of Furness, the square tower of whose 
castle now stands looking with an antique frown upon the market-place. 
Here the civil business of their vast possessions was transacted. The 




DALTON CASTLE. 



courts baron of Dalton are still held in this tower. Dalton church stands 
hard by the castle, near the edge of a steep rock, overlooking the vale of 
Deadly Nightshade. Romney, the painter, who was a native of this parish? 



42 



0VEE SA1JDS TO THE LAKES. 



lies buried in this graveyard, under a plain stone, bearing the name, dates, 
and the words, "Pictor celeberrimus." The parish of Dalton was almost 
depopulated by the great plague, two centuries ago. In the church there 
is a massive old stone font, carved with the armorial bearings of the ancient 
feudal lords of the district. This venerable relic stood for some time in 
the churchyard, exposed to mutilation and wear of the elements, until, 
through the good taste of the Eev. Mr. Morgan, the present vicar, it was 
removed to the interior again. 

Peel Castle is about nine miles from Ulverstone, by rail, passing Furness 
Abbey, to Peel pier. A boat may be had at the pier, to the island, which ig 
immediately opposito, divided from the main land by a narrow channel- 
Going by way of Barrow the distance by rail is about twelve miles ; but the 
route is more varied. No other way of approaching the ruins of this fortress 




PEEL CASTLE. 



is so impressive as by a boat from Barrow, which is easily obtained, especially 
if " civil old Joe Winder" be about. This route also gives the tourist a good 
opportunity of seeing the harbour, in which the British navy might ride 
safely in the wildest weather. The isle of Walney, Eampside, and the most 
characteristic objects of this remote nook of the Furness shore, are in sight 
from the water. Barrow itself is an interesting spot. It is now the great 
port of Furness, and a place of increasing importance. Here, most of the 
ore of the district is shipped for Carron and Swansea, where it is used to 
enrich the poorer ores of Scotland and Wales. Hollinshed says that the 
Scots, in the reign of Edward the Second, during one of their raids into 
England, "met with no iron worth their notice until they came to Furness, 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES. 43 

in Lancashire, where they seized all the manufactured iron they could find, 
and carried it off with the greatest joy, though so heavy of carriage, and 
preferred it to all other plunder." In Barrow and its neighbourhood, as in 
many other parts of Furness, roads, houses, cattle, and men are more or less 
coloured with oxide of iron. A Furness miner, when disguised in his Sunday 
clothes, is seldom slow to tell you that he has " taen his degrees |i' th' Red 
Lone College." The view of Peel Castle, as the boat nears the island from 
Barrow, is very striking. The castle was built by the Abbots of Furness, 
in the reign of Edward the Third, upon an older foundation, supposed to be 
the remains of a Danish fortress. These fierce sea-rovers often ravaged this 
part of the coast, and the terrors of their name linger yet among its traditions . 
The castle has been a place of much greater extent and strength than 
now appears. On the eastern side of the island, where high tides wash the 
base of the ruins, immense blocks of wall, which have been many years 
among the waters, are yet as firmly held together by their old cement as if 
they were solid rock. On the east and southern sides, the sea now covers 
a great extent of the old foundations, which are visible, here and there, under 
water. On the north and western sides, the two great ditches, the double 
lines of wall, and the strong flanking towers, still give some idea of the 
strength of the ancient defences. Near the ruins, there are two cottages, 
where the only inhabitants of the island reside. The largest of these cottages 
is a public-house, chiefly frequented by sailors from the harbours. Here the 
visitor may get good plain fare. 

Coniston Lake is about an hour's ride, by rail from Ulverstone, on the 
Furness and Ulverstone line. The line goes by Kirby, the village of 
Broughton, on the Duddon shore, Woodlands, and Torver ; and then along 
the western bank of the lake, with the " Old Man" and other Coniston 
mountains rising up from the left hand side of the line. The station is 
at Coniston village, near the head of the lake. This line runs a considerable 
distance by Duddon Sands, commanding an extensive view of the estuary. 

Newby Bridge, at the foot of Windermere, is nine miles from Ulverstone. 
A coach starts thither from the latter place every day in summer. The road 
is full of interesting variety, winding by the banks of the river Leven almost 
all the way. On the right hand the upper part of the estuary stretches out 
from near the highway, bounded by the fells and beautiful shores of Cartmel ; 
on the left, the green hills of Low Furness throw their shadows, here and there, 
across the way. The river Leven brings down the waters of Windermere to 
the sea. About four miles on the road, the beautiful valley of the Crake opens 
up on the western side, and the summits of the Coniston range are in sight. 
Through this valley the river Crake empties the waters of Coniston into the 
Leven. If any sojourner at Ulverston desires a fine walk through picturesque 
scenery, let him go about two miles along this high road from Ulverstone, 
then up Newland Vale about a mile, and then northward across the hills 



46 OVEE SANDS TO THE LAKES. 

a mile and a half, down to the village of Penny Bridge, at which spot he 
may he safely left to the influence of the scene. From these high grounds, 
between Newland Vale and Crake Vale, there are glorious views of the 
Coniston mountains. Near the entrance of the Crake valley the road passes 
the picturesque little village and port of Greenodd, in a nook of the estuary. A 
short distance from Greenodd, over the hills, there is an interesting old Baptist 
chapel, built in the intolerant days of the " Five Mile Act." At Backbarrow 
— where a stranger may be surprised to find a cotton-mill in such a spot — 
the river Leven falls over the rocks beautifully on the right-hand side of the 
road. Thence, to Newby Bridge, the road lies through a delightful wood- 
land scene between the hills, with the river shining and singing all the way 
over its old bed of mossy rocks, down in the left-hand hollow. The old 
mansion-like inn, called the White Swan, is delightfully situated by the 
clear Leven side. In front, a quaint bridge of five arches spans the stream, 
and a few yards below it the river runs over a little fall, filling the quiet vale 
with its drowsy song by night and day. Above the bridge, the water comes 
down from Windermere through lovely scenery, gradually narrowing from 
a lake to a river, with the current of water scarcely discernible. The pic- 
turesque old inn, the bridge, the river, the drowsy fall, the choral woods, and 
every object in ihe hollow of this green nest of the mountains, is full of 
beauty and repose ; and the hills that shut them in from the rest of the world 
heighten the general charm. The clear river glides by the front of the inn, 
with only the road between. It is pleasant to sit at the upper windows, or 
on the green flower-garnished benches below, in a still summer evening, 
listening to the birds and the waterfall, and watching the fish leaping up 
from the glittering water, as if giving a last frolicsome defiance to the cooks 
at the White Swan. At Newby Bridge we are on the very doorstep of 
that beautiful region of England — the Lake Country, and — 

" All that creation's varying mass assumes 
Of grand or lovely, here aspires and blooms ; 
Bold rise the mountains, rich the gardens glow, 
Bright lakes expand, and conquering rivers flow." 

Perhaps the finest views to be had in the immediate neighbourhood of Newby 
Bridge are from the summit of Finsthwaite, a lofty wooded height which 
rises steeply from the western side of the inn. On the top there is a square 
tower of slate stone, commemorative of the naval victories of England. The 
inside walls are written all over with names and nameless reliques. The key 
of the tower may be had at the White Swan. A footpath leads through 
the plantations to the summit, whicb is a singular mixture of craggy wild- 
ness and pretty woodland walks. Finsthwaite commands a glorious extent 
and variety of scenery in this land of lake and mountain. Southward, the 
vale of the Leven winds away to Ulverstone Sands ; westward, the mountains 
of Coniston ; eastward, the fells and vales of Cartmel ; and northward, from 



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OVEK SANDS TO THE LAKES. 49 

the foot of the hill, the entire length of crystal Windermere, dotted with its 
emerald isles, is in full view. Beyond, the most kingly cluster of all our 
English mountains hounds the landscape. Green is " the favourite colour of 
God," and the green shores of this garden-girt water are of a brightness such 
as is rarely met with elsewhere in the world. Looking upon Windermere 
from Finsthwaite, on a sunny day, one may say in the words of Tom Moore, 
that Nature seems to have lavished her charms upon the scene — 

" To make a heaven for love to sigh in, 
For bards to live and saints to die in." 

The distance from Newhy Bridge to Kendal, by way of Cartmel Fells, is ten 
miles; by Leven Bridge, fifteen miles. An omnibus goes from the inn 
twice a day in summer through Cartmel to the village of Grange. Steamers 
start daily in summer to Ambleside and back, calling at Bowness. There 
are ample facilities for boating and fishing; and, in addition to this, I believe 
there is hardly a house of entertainment in the lake country more notable for 
genuine comfort and the general excellence of its accommodation, than the 
White Swan at Newby Bridge. 



A. IRELAND AND CO., PRINTERS, PALL HALL, MARKET STREET, MANCHESTER. 



OVER SANDS TO THE LAKES; 



EDWIN WAUGH, 



AUTHOR OF "SKETCHES OF LANCASHIRE LIFE AND LOCALITIES'" "COME WHOAM TO THI 
CHILDER AN' ME, - ' ETC., ETC. 




A. IRELAND & CO., 22, MARKET STREET, MANCHESTER: 

AND ALL BOOKSELLERS AND SEWS VENDORS. 



I860. 






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